Friday, August 1, 2014

A Summer of Baseball and some Baseball Making

I used this tutorial to make a baseball bracelet for my son's friend and his mom. They drove my son to some of his games when we were unable to.

The bracelet on the left is one I purchased for my son, years ago, from a seller on Etsy.  It was a fun project to make with my son. I didn't get a photo of ours, but they came out very nice. For the mom, I used some jewelry clasps. For the boy, we simply used the red string to tie on a jump ring and clasp. (as shown in the tutorial.)

It is a bit fascinating to cut the ball apart. We used an exacto knife and mostly pressed into the ball. I was a nervous Nellie - exactly the opposite of what I should be (according to "Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents".)  The final game of the season was that night and I didn't want my son to get hurt with a bad cut!  A lot of accidents happen in the last moments of a project...when hurry takes over....

It was quite a season of baseball for our family. My son played for his freshman high school team.  Mostly, that was miserable. It did not feel like baseball. It was rainy, snowy, and cold.

My son couldn't play rec ball until high school was finished. When he finally joined his team with the season in progress, it started to feel like baseball.

He also played All Stars for the first time, which consisted of three games on the weekends.  Feeling the warmth of the sun while laying out on my oversized blanket was the perfect antidote to the long winter.

The All Stars went through a lot of losses but finally gelled by the last tournament and took home the trophy. The rec team had a great season and won the city championship. Here's the boys after the last game.Most of the boys know each other or are All Star teammates, so they were all celebrating.

I am always grateful for coaches who teach the fine points of the game and who are also good role models. I feel blessed to have had such wonderful coaches for the past few years on this rec team.  Sports have become so specialized. If your kid isn't playing by age 3, he won't stand a chance by the time he gets to high school.  I'm exaggerating, a little.... But there's a fine line between instructional leagues and everything else. And it seems that "everything else" has started younger and younger. I see it in the JO volleyball leagues that the girls are in. I saw it in elementary football (or, high school prep league.) Sometimes the rec leagues can't survive because so many kids are going to play in elite leagues.

Yes, it's great fun to win and my son enjoyed that. But I enjoyed watching the game, seeing the team and the individuals develop over the season, and seeing these boys have fun playing a game they love.

In that moment, baseball ended for the summer. Now I hear the cicadas, a sure sign that school is coming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sew a New Bag for a Folding Camping Chair - DIY - Tutorial

Do you need a new bag for your folding camping chair? Is yours made out of nylon and falling apart at the seams? I'm embarrassed to show you my bags, but here is one.  We use our chairs for picnics, baseball games and the beach. It did not take long for the nylon bags to rip. If you look at the bag below, my husband (ingeniously) turned the bag upside down, so that the ripped side is the new opening and the drawstring side is the bottom.

I tried repairing the bottom by sewing and serging the seams, but even that didn't last long.  My readers know that poor quality on manufactured goods is a major pet peeve of mine. I don't understand why a bag like this would be constructed with a square panel on the bottom.

Oh, and another thing....these bags are never big enough. We are always struggling to fit the chair inside. We had enough already! So, in about ten minutes, I whipped up a big.

Here's another bag with the same stress points along the bottom piece. My first solution is to eliminate the bottom piece. (I construct many of my bags with the bottom on the fold. I believe it makes them stronger.)

  • 1/2 yard duck cloth canvas, drop cloth, or any other strong fabric - preferably 54" wide
  • 3/4 to 1 yard webbing - salvage the old webbing if possible
  • cording and cord stop - salvage the old ones!


1. Lay out your old bag

2. Remove the webbing strap and cording. I simply cut it off. I also removed the cording and cord stop.

3. Determine the dimensions required and cut the fabric.  I laid out my bag on the cutting table. It measured approximately 37" long by 10" high. I then added 4" to the length to account for the bottom piece plus an 1" for the hem.

I also wanted some extra room in the width, so I added 2".   If you don't have an existing bag, measure the height of the chair and add about 6 inches to the length. Then, measure around the chair, add 2-3" and divide in half.

I used some stash duck cloth. I love duck cloth because it's sturdy, washable, comes in great colors and is 59" wide. I laid out my fabric with the fold on the right.  Based on my calculations, I cut the bag 42" x 12" with one end folded.

The side closest to me on the cutting table is the selvage. Normally I remove the selvage before my sewing projects. In this case, I left it to save time on finishing.

4. Pin the webbing.  I pinned the webbing to the right side of the bag about 9" and 25" from the cut end.

5. Sew the sides of the bag. Sew and serge one side of the bag together (the non-selvage side.)

Sew the selvage side of the bag, beginning about 12" below the top.  There is no need to finish the seam. Press selvage seam open. I did not bother to create a boxed bottom. I simply sewed the two side seams.

6. Create a casing. Serge the top edge of the fabric.  Fold down the top about 1" and press. If you don't have a serger, you can fold under the raw edge and press. Stitch the casing down.

7. Thread the casing. Thread the cording into the casing. When you have both ends of the cord, thread them through the cord stop.

Turn inside out and press if you want to. I didn't! I whipped this up in about ten minutes before we were leaving on our beach vacation/family reunion. (This, after months of carrying the chair in our know, it's hard to find someone who has the time to sew in this house!)

We are so happy with our new chair bag! It's sturdy and big enough to easily slide our chair into! Practical and way better than the original!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beautiful Beach Blanket with Jenny Eliza!

Summer is in full swing!  Summer, in my mind, means lazy picnics by the river or days down at the beach. Summer, in reality, means stitching my fingers away, four kids trying to figure out where they have to be for the day, running to baseball games, moving kids to and fro, and, pretty much, trying to figure out the meaning of life. Does that sound like your summer?

Well, then maybe it's time you relaxed a bit!

Annie and her friend had a fun backyard play day filled with slip and slide, water balloons and shaving cream! So I snagged them to show this beautiful beach blanket (or picnic blanket!)

It's made with the new Jenny Eliza fabrics at Joann's. These fabrics are designed by Jennifer Paganelli of Sisboom and they are just gorgeous together. Don't they take you to someplace tropical?

I bought almost every fabric in the collection since this blanket uses 10 different fabrics!

I always struggle to capture the beauty of the fabrics on these blankets.

The blankets are about 7 feet square!

They make great cocoons....

We had our family reunion yesterday and our family was the host family.  I donated this blanket. My brother told me all day that his wife, who was out of town, told him he better win the blanket. Well, sure enough, he won!  Our next family reunion is next weekend and there will now be 3 of these big blankets on the beach. Pretty soon the entire beach will look like a patchwork quilt!

 Is your summer going like mine?  Do you have lots of grad parties, work parties, picnics, etc?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tote Bag Made from Upcycled Starbucks Aprons

Projects like this Starbucks apron tote keep my creativity going!  The idea was generated by my customer, of course! She had a few old aprons from her days at Starbucks and when she saw some of my work on Facebook, she asked if I could turn them into a tote.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oxygen Tank Totes

The past year I created three custom Oxygen tank totes. It was a challenge to create since I do not have a tank. I relied on dimensions provided to me by my customers.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

T Shirt Quilt Door Banner

I created a T Shirt door banner for my friend Ingrid to use at Camp Gizmo, a "hands-on camp where parents, professionals, and students learn how assistive technology can help young children with significant and multiple developmental needs." The banner identifies the Sensory Lab.


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